The purpose of this paper is to present results from an exploratory study that aims to investigate why gender role alterations in leadership positions is slow. The tourism managers’ perceptions of gender equality, within the workplace, were obtained resorting to focus groups. We chose thematic analysis to identify themes and patterns. This thematic analysis enables a methodological systematization of data. Data were coded using webQDA, a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software that speeds up the team process of analysis. The systematization of information helped overcome the difficulties to synthesize the various interpretations; thus it was possible to generate more ideas and reduce researcher bias. The main outcome of the study was the development of an analytic framework where diverse components fit together by combining and cataloguing six main themes and their sub-themes. This framework is not only an analysis tool but also provides support to develop robust quantitative instruments and facilitate future meta-inference drawn from all data sources of a research project. We defend that mixed methods research is useful for finding credible answers to research questions on complex social phenomena. Discussion about qualitative vs quantitative dichotomy is sometimes irrelevant, because what matters is maximizing the process of research. Exploring the practicalities of using a qualitative methodology as a team of researchers, we contribute to theory development on human resources capitalization.


Thematic Analysis, Qualitative Research, Gender, Tourism, Barriers, Facilitators, Conceptual Framework Development, WebQDA Software

Author Bio(s)

Carlos Costa is a Full Professor, Head of the Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering of the University of Aveiro and Editor of the Journal of Tourism & Development. He holds a PhD and MSc on Tourism Management (University of Surrey, UK), and a BSc on Urban and Regional Planning (University of Aveiro, Portugal). Carlos is the leader of the PhD Tourism Program of the University of Aveiro and is also the head of the Tourism Research Centre of the University of Aveiro (included in GOVCOPP). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to Carlos Costa at ccosta@ua.pt.

Zélia Breda holds a PhD in Tourism, an MA in Chinese Studies (Business and International Relations) and a BSc in Tourism Management and Planning from the University of Aveiro (Portugal), where she is an Assistant Professor, at the Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering. She is also a member of the Research Unit “Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies.” Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to Zélia Breda at zelia@ua.pt.

Isabel Pinho holds a PhD in Management, an MA in Information Management and an MA in Public Management from the University of Aveiro (Portugal). She also holds a Post-Doc in Higher Education from UFRGS (Brazil) and is a member of LASA – Latin American Studies Association. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to Isabel Pinho at isabelpinho@ua.pt.

Fiona Bakas is a Research Fellow at the University of Aveiro and holds a PhD in Tourism from Otago University, NZ, using feminist economics to examine the relationship between gender roles and tourism entrepreneurship in Greece. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to Fiona Bakas at Fiona.bakas@ua.pt.

Marília Durão is a Research Assistant at the University of Aveiro. She holds an MA in Tourism Planning and Management from the University of Aveiro, where she is a PhD student in the Tourism Doctoral Program. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to Marilia Durão at marilia.durao@ua.pt.


This research was supported in part by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), as well as by the co-financing of the European Union through the National Strategic Reference Framework (QREN), European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), and COMPETE (Operational Program for Competitiveness Factors).

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